CAROLINE KALOMBE, Lusaka
PATRIOTIC Front deputy secretary-general Mumbi Phiri yesterday told the Lusaka Magistrate’s Court that her reputation was hurt when Asher Hakantu allegedly
accused her of sacrificing her son.
This was in a WhatsApp group “We need a better Zambia” in which Mr Hakantu, who is charged with defamation, made the allegations.
When the case came up for cross- examination before magistrate Nchimunya Simaubi, Mrs Phiri testified that her son died as a result of negligence by the Kawambwa Secondary School and police officers who allowed an overloaded truck to pass through a roadblock.
She alleged that the police officer was given a K65 bribe and allowed the overloaded truck to go through.
Mrs Phiri said those police officers were corrupt but that not all police officers are corrupt.
She noted that the statements were made by Hakantu following the incarceration of United Party for National Development (UPND) Hakainde Hichilema.
Mrs Phiri said she called a press briefing over the incident as she felt that President Lungu’s life was in danger, adding that she was speaking as a politician who is a PF cadre and that her briefing with journalists was not connected in anyway with Mr Hichilema’s arrest.
Mrs Phiri said it is the duty of the police to investigate matters on their own and should not be told to do so, adding that indeed she had urged the police to investigate what had transpired in Mongu.
And another witness, Elijah Kaputo, 36, a sales representative at Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation, said he belonged to the WhatsApp group “We need a Better Zambia” and that he was touched by the statement that was made by Hakantu on the group as that is not the reason the group was created.
Mr Kaputo said the group was created to discuss development and not personal issues such as character assassination.
Particulars are that Hakantu, with intent to defame Mrs Phiri, on May 6 this year, in Lusaka, unlawfully published a statement partly reading, “Are you sure she didn’t sacrifice the innocent boy for her to come into a political limelight. Who knew this finished scrap cargo before she lost her son in Kawambwa school accident?’’